Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bowling in Nashville!

We took a very spontaneous overnight trip to Nashville, TN to see David's parents who were there visiting David's first cousin, Daemon, his wife, Melissa, and their 6 week old baby, Cameron. David's Aunt Debbie and Uncle Dale were there, too. We enjoyed a nice visit with some relatives we don't see very often (Aunt Debbie and Uncle Dale live in China right now!), and the kids enjoyed the adventure of being in a new place for the night.
While we were in Nashville, we "played" at Opry Mills. The kids love being at the mall here, so we figured they would enjoy this one, too! Indeed, they did. We rode the "mall rides," visited the sting ray bay, rode the carousel, and took the kids bowling for the very first time. Mackenzie had been asking to bowl for several months now; she enjoyed it, but got bored before the game was over! Above are two pics of her styling in her bowling shoes! The coloring in the pictures turned out funny because this bowling alley has lots of black lights. However, they turned out well enough to give you an idea of what the kids looked like while bowling!

Believe it or not, even Josiah could carry the 6 lb bowling ball by himself! Speaking of by himself...he just mastered the entire alphabet A to Z without needing prompts anymore. Josiah also bored of bowling before the game was finished! We had fun anyway, and I had to document that "first!"
I hope you all had a good weekend, too! :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Return to the Farm!

For those of you who read the first post, I hope you'll enjoy this follow up on the farm! Mackenzie, Josiah, and I went back to the farm thinking the blackberries or blueberries might be ripe and ready to pick. We were wrong; they will not be ready for a couple more weeks. However, we were delighted to discover that the sour cherries were ripe! I had never picked cherries before, so this was a treat. The kids absolutely loved picking the cherries.
Afterwards, the kids insisted that we visit the goats. Oh, yes, the "mean" sheep and "pet" rooster are still there, My Friends. After our first experience IN the pen, I decided this experience would be more enjoyable OUT of the pen.
Therefore, the pictures immediately above and below this text are of my two precious kids attempting to enjoy the animals from the safe side of the fence! The kids truly wanted to go inside the pen, even with fresh memories of being butted by the sheep last time.
Being the great Mom and wife that I am, I told them we could most certainly all go inside the pen...AFTER Daddy got off work and joined us! :)
While David bravely cuddled with the rooster that demands to be held or it will peck you, (and I do mean seriously peck you...that thing drew blood from my toes last time!) the kids and I were able to safely enter and enjoy the animals! (Yes, it really is a rooster, though I, too, think it looks more like a chicken.)
This is one very tolerate goat.
And one last picture to end our afternoon on the farm.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cucumber Kid

I realize Mackenzie is holding a tomato in this picture, but she is a "cucumber kid" at heart. She picks and eats the cucumbers right out of the garden as fast as they can grow!
Yes, this is her hand reaching for the cucumber to eat even before I finished snapping the picture of the miniature produce from our garden!
Here is our little garden. We are enjoying tomatoes, squash, cucumber, and banana peppers. The part I am enjoying the most is watching the Mackenzie and Josiah enjoy it all!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Swimming Lesson Update

Today was the next-to-last swimming lesson for Mackenzie with Ian at CourtSouth. What did Mackenzie do today? Well, she (per Ian's instruction) jumped into the swimming pool (with small square foam block "floaty" attached to her back in order to maintain a horizontal rather than vertical position in the pool) and swam the entire length of the pool all by herself! As in, no one else was in the pool at all. Just Mackenzie. Josiah and I cheered from the sidelines when she finished. Ian beamed at her as he praised her accomplishments.

He was quick to say that she is the youngest (3 1/2 yrs) one he has taught that was actually able to swim the full length of the pool at the end of 5 thirty minute lessons. He says she is a very strong swimmer, even though she is the skinniest little girl he's ever taught! He has trouble keeping the floaty on her as it tends to fall off her little body. He worked with her more today on swimming without the floaty, which she is perfectly willing to do, but it is hard for her to breathe as she swims. She'll hold her breath and swim under water for about 4-6 feet, but then someone needs to help her come up for air before she can continue. He says she is not quite ready for the synchronized breathing while swimming lesson. She has certainly got the gist of it, and I am so very proud of her!!!

Also, Josiah went and watched today. Actually, he did not want to just watch. He wanted to know, "Is it my turn now, Momma?" After the third time of him asking that, Ian let Mackenzie rest while he took Josiah for his "first" swimming lesson. Josiah loved it and may be more ready than I originally thought...perhaps by the end of the summer Ian will have taught Josiah more about swimming, too!

For now, I'm very pleased that I have two eager learners. Mackenzie knows correct swim strokes and kicks and is able to use them to get some good speed as she directs herself through the water. I am thankful for the opportunity to see that my kids learn to swim. The bonus for me is that I can safely take both kids swimming by myself without cumbersome life jackets! Ian says that as Mackenzie develops her lower back muscles while swimming, she'll be able to keep her body in a horizontal position in the water rather than vertical. So, of course, we must go "practice" swimming, right? :) I fore see some fun days at the poolside this summer. Now, it's just too bad that I don't have that same body description as Mackenzie-HA. ;)

Monday, June 16, 2008

What a Week!

UPDATE: Mackenzie and Josiah BOTH tested positive for Strep Throat yesterday afternoon in our pediatrician's office. That just adds to the week! :) I really am feeling much better now, though.
No, this is not our house; however, it is in our neighborhood and very close to "home." Less than one week ago this house was standing, intact, and beautiful. The elderly couple who lived there went out to dinner, during which time, a storm blew through our area. We were home. We heard loud claps of thunder and saw many vertical bolts of lightening. We assured the kids we were safe. After all, the storm is outside; we are inside. We head upstairs to distract the kids from the storm. I glanced out the bonus room window. I froze, blinked, and stared. In a matter of seconds I was telling my mom (who was here visiting) what I saw while grabbing the phone and dialing 911. The operator assured me that she had dispatched a fire truck to our neighborhood even before we hung up the phone. I made sure my children were being watched by my mom and I ran to some nearby neighbors to alert them of the blazing fire just down the street. Mark and David went to ring the bell/ bang on the door in attempt to alert anyone inside the house to get out! We did not know they were out to dinner at that time. No answer. Other neighbors hooked hoses up and received jolts of lightening, the cause of the fire, as they began to soak a nearby home with water in attempt to stop the spread of the fire. Minutes passed. Too many minutes, before the fire trucks began to arrive. By the time it was all said and done, four fire trucks, 2 ambulances, a doctor, a vet (yes, the family dog survived), and two different news crews had all spent a good deal of time on our street that evening. Notice the house to the left has siding melted, but actually remained intact otherwise. The garage and its contents are the only things that survived the fire. All else was lost.
Mackenzie and Josiah watched from our bonus room windows as the whole ordeal unfolded. From their perspectives came many, many questions during and following the incident. Mackenzie did not sleep well that first night. She kept saying, "Mommy, I'm sad that the lady's house is broken." Josiah wanted to know, "More fire? More smoke?" I took them both on walks late that night to show them that, yes, the house is broken, but everyone is okay. Also, to show them that the fire is out and the smoke is gone, though the odor lingered in our neighborhood for days afterward. Our vehicles were covered in a fine layer of ash the next day. The kids took a few days to process the whole tragic event, but they did processes it and are just fine. It is a helpless feeling to watch something of that magnitude unfold and have no power to stop it. So many scriptures come to mind...
  • James refers to the tongue as a fire in James 3:6.
  • II Timothy 1:6-8a says, "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord!!"
  • Jude 1:23 "snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh."
  • I Thessalonians 5:19-23a "Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through."
The power of fire is huge. Indescribable, really. The main thing that struck me most is this: The elderly couple went to dinner. All was normal in their world. When they arrived home after supper, all they had left in this world was the clothes on their backs. Literally. What would I do if that was me? How would I react? How tightly do I cling to things of this world? In Whom have I placed my trust and faith? And what can I do to make a difference in the world around me?
So I leave you with these thoughts.
  • Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
  • Matthew 6:27 "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?....vs33 & 34 "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
  • Matthew 11:28- 30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
(Side note: The rest of the week is as follows: The Millers, our very dear friends, moved out of state, and I ended up in the ER Saturday night with what the doctor called a "rip roaring case of strep throat." He actually thought, on exam, that I had an abscess. A positive rapid strep, a neg CT with contrast of neck tissues, a WBC of 18,000 (normal is 10,000 or less), and a dose of IV Clindamycin later...they decided to send me home with 10 days of antibiotics and no abscess! Whew. What a week!)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Swimming Lessons!

Mackenzie is taking swimming lessons at Court South. Ian, her instructor, has been a great fit for Mackenzie's personality! I am quite pleased, and this is only the second of six lessons! She started yesterday, and I snapped these pictures today during her second session. Look at her go! She is swimming to the ladder in this picture.
Ian is teaching Mackenzie different swimming strokes. She has learned the breast stroke and back stroke, though she is still using the square floaty, or Ian's assistance, to stay afloat as she swims...I'm guessing that by the end of four more lessons she will be swimming unassisted!
Here I come!
Notice Ian's hand...he is patting the water to his right. That is where he is asking Mackenzie to jump. She did it, too! She jumped in, not to Ian, but next to him and attempted to surface on her own. He is working on teaching her to tread water. She tried it several times in a row today. Way to go, Mackenzie! She really is a brave little 3 1/2 year old. She listens well to instructions and sticks her tongue out in concentration as she tries to do exactly as told. Ian has been surprised by how much progress they have made in such short time.
Yes, I am a proud Momma!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mackenzie's First Sleep Over

Mackenzie, Laura, and Josiah painting t-shirts with puff paint!
Laura and Josiah painting.
Mackenzie, Laura, and Josiah painting.
Josiah, Laura, and Mackenzie enjoying the sprinkler. I love Josiah and Mackenzie's expressions in this picture. It captures their absolute delight that Laura was with us for the night! (Side note: The girl's swimsuits were our "faded" ones as I did not want them to get permanent paints on their good suits!)
Mackenzie Watson and Laura Miller. Precious friendship. We were truly delighted to have Laura at our house for Mackenzie's first sleep over. Yes, you read that correctly: Mackenzie's first sleep over was at our own house! :) She likes to be at home. Our whole family enjoyed having Laura with us this past Friday night. All three kids had lots of fun. The girls were up till 11:00pm Friday night and up for the day at 6:50am Saturday morning! I look forward to many more sleep overs in our future. Thanks, Laura, for coming over to spend the night with us! (This was bittersweet as Laura is moving out-of-state this week.) You are always welcome at our house, Laura!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Josiah's Two Year Check Up

Alright. The above two pictures were supposed to be at the very END of this post. I accidentally uploaded them in the wrong order! Oh well.
Yesterday Mackenzie, Josiah, and I went to Blackmon Pediatrics for Josiah's well child check up. We actually all had fun! Their office is quite nice. Each room is basically a huge mural, as all four walls are covering in paintings to match the theme of that particular room. Even the exam table matches the theme! We were in the Jungle Room, complete with monkeys and parrots on the walls and a safari jeep exam table! Some of the other themes include a school yard/bus, underwater, super heroes, and fishing, etc. Josiah did not cry when they pricked his finger for his routine labs. He actually peed in the cup (so they did not have to bag him) for his urine check. He cooperated beautifully and is doing well. Here are his stats:

Age: 2 yrs

Height: 34.5 inches (60%)

Weight: 25 lb 11 oz (50%)

Head Circumference: 48.7 cm (55%)

He is speaking in complete sentences of 5 to 8 words regularly now. His vocabulary is way beyond me being able to count his words! He thinks he is 3, like his sister. He knows all his shapes and a few of his colors. We have some work to do with the colors still! He correctly identifies the letters "O," "W," "T," and several others the majority of the time. He can sing the Alphabet Song with only a couple prompts. He can count to 12. The only two cute words that I can think of that he mispronounces are "aminals" (animals) and "holse me" (hold me). Most of his words are so clear that I have to record those as later in life it is fun to know what funny words you used as a child! He can chew gum now as he spits it in the trash can when he is finished with it. He can ride Mackenzie's bike with training wheels, and prefers it over his tricycle! He is a sweet, busy kid! He loves to climb. He is a joy to have as a part of our family. We love you, Baby Boy!

UT Gardens!

We spent part of the morning at UT Gardens yesterday. What fun we had just exploring the nature around us! Thanks to Cindy Taylor for informing us of Books and Blooms gathering. We were, oh, about 30 minutes late arriving, so we missed the entire story time. Ha. But we did enjoy hanging out with friends and exploring the pathways. The kids and me in the gardens.
Sam & Will Taylor with Mackenzie & Josiah Watson
Mackenzie and Josiah both loved getting to play in the stick fort! I had never seen anything quite like it...very unusual!
This decorative heart-shaped stone in the gardens area made for a fun picture.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I'm a little behind on my blogging. Our Dollywood trip was last Sunday, and I'm just getting around to posting it. Below are a few pictures of the kids on the carousel at Dollywood. These are the only cute pictures we got, as the kids went from excited and happy to tired and melting down in rapid fashion. Mackenzie riding the zebra.
Josiah (and David) on the carousel.
Laura Miller (and Jim, Sara, & Grant) went with us.
Laura has her head back in this picture, but you can kinda tell that the 3 kids are lined up on their animals and ready to ride! (From left to right, Laura, Mackenzie, Josiah.) Fun day. Lots of memories made.